Telling you why

Back when I made that rhubarb pie, I said that the cream cheese pastry recipe would make more than you actually needed. I said there was a reason I was giving you a recipe that would cause you to end up with leftovers, but I didn’t tell you what that reason was. Now, a couple weeks later, I’m ready to tell you why.

Sunday confession: I do this to my kids all the time—order them to do things without giving them any reason. I tell them I’ll explain later, but I am not usually able to put them off for five minutes, let along a couple weeks, thanks to their vigorous pestering. You, on the other hand, have been everlastingly patient, and as a result I’m racked with guilt over how I’ve so brutishly abused your gentle natures.

I can just see it now: every time you open your refrigerator door you see the tightly wrapped disk of white dough sitting on your fridge shelf (because I know that every one of you made that pastry dough within two hours of me posting the recipe) and you suck your teeth, furrow your brow, give your heads a shake, and then reach passed the dough for the jar of grape jelly before softly shutting the door.

Such visions leave me feeling so forlorn… Let’s move on, shall we?

What you’re going to do with those pastry scraps is this: roll them flat, sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar, cut them into squares, and bake them in a hot oven. I’m not sure why it took me so long to tell you something that’s really that simple. I probably could’ve even twittered it ’cause that sentence was less than a hundred and forty characters. But now that I’ve gone and been long-winded, I’ll say a little more (because I like characters of all ilk—literary, human, cartoon…).

These pastry scraps bake up (in a literal sense—they rise like biscuits) into melt-in-your-mouth little bits of goodness. They are sweetly unassuming, tender and flaky and rich. Mr. Handsome and I kept saying, “Mmm, they taste like something … like … um … yum … not sure what … mmm.” It wasn’t until I had downed a goodly number of the treats that I realized what they tasted like: puff pastry! (At least I think they taste like puff pastry—I can’t remember when I last ate puff pastry, so I’m not sure how I know they taste like puff pastry. Still, I’m convinced that’s what they taste like.)

Cinnamon Tea Biscuits
Adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

It is of upmost importance that you fully bake these tea biscuits. If they are at all under-baked, they will be doughy in a very yucky and disappointing way; in other words, bake them as long as you possibly dare. When they are baked to perfection, they are flaky, crispy, and utterly irresistible.

These are best eaten the same day they are made. I suppose you could freeze them as soon as they’ve cooled, but I didn’t try that—we ate them up too quickly.

Leftover cream cheese pastry
4 tablespoons white sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Remove the leftover chilled pastry dough from the refrigerator (if you froze the leftover pastry, allow it to first thaw in the refrigerator) and let it sit at room temperature for about ten minutes. Roll it really thin, as you would for a pie crust.

Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar over the top of the pastry. Press the sugar into the dough using a rolling pin. Flip the pastry over, sprinkle the remainder of the cinnamon sugar over the pastry and press it into the dough with the rolling pin. Don’t worry if some of the sugar falls off—enough will stay sweetly stuck.

Cut the pastry into whatever geometric shapes you desire and scatter them about on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake the cookies at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Cool and eat, or store them in an airtight container.

One Comment

Leave a Comment